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H.C.R. 5 Enrolled







Chief Sponsor: Melvin R. Brown

Senate Sponsor: Mike Dmitrich

             9      LONG TITLE
             10      General Description:
             11          This concurrent resolution of the Legislature and the Governor urges the United States
             12      Congress to pass R.S. 2477, Rights-of-way Recognition Act.
             13      Highlighted Provisions:
             14          This resolution:
             15          .    urges the United States Congress to pass R.S. 2477, Rights-of-way Recognition
             16      Act, a bill that codifies the principles established in the 10th Circuit Court of
             17      Appeals' decision in Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance v. Bureau of Land
             18      Management (SUWA v. BLM).
             19      Special Clauses:
             20          None
             22      Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah, the Governor concurring therein:
             23          WHEREAS, in 1866, the United States Congress passed an open-ended grant of "the
             24      right-of-way for the construction of highways over public lands, not reserved for public uses";
             25          WHEREAS, the statute, commonly referred to as R.S. 2477, remained in effect for 110
             26      years, and most of the transportation routes in the West were established under its authority;
             27          WHEREAS, although Congress repealed R.S. 2477 in 1976 by passing the Federal Land
             28      Policy Management Act, it purposely protected all rights-of-way established prior to October
             29      21, 1976;

             30          WHEREAS, unlike any other federal land statute, the establishment of R.S. 2477
             31      rights-of-way required no entry, application, license patent, or deed on the part of the federal
             32      government, and no formal act of public acceptance on the part of the states or localities in
             33      whom the rights were vested;
             34          WHEREAS, because R.S. 2477 rights-of-way were not required by the grant to be
             35      formally recorded, they have become one of the more contentious land use issues in the West,
             36      resulting in on-the-ground conflicts and expensive litigation;
             37          WHEREAS, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance v. Bureau of Land Management
             38      (SUWA v. BLM), a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals' order filed January 6, 2006, provides a
             39      thoughtful and reasonable way to resolve road disputes between the federal government and
             40      counties;
             41          WHEREAS, the United States Department of the Interior has developed and issued
             42      guidelines implementing the well-reasoned principles in SUWA v. BLM, formerly known as the
             43      "Norton Implementation";
             44          WHEREAS, certain members of Congress and certain nongovernmental organizations
             45      are attempting to defeat the principles of SUWA v. BLM as adopted by the Department of the
             46      Interior, and are trying to redefine R.S. 2477 rights-of-way out of existence in order to create
             47      additional wilderness across the West, which by definition is roadless;
             48          WHEREAS, Representative Steve Pearce of New Mexico has introduced in Congress
             49      the "R.S. 2477 Rights-of-Way Recognition Act," a bill that codifies the beneficial principles
             50      established in SUWA v. BLM; and
             51          WHEREAS, rights-of-way, including roads established under R.S. 2477, are essential
             52      transportation routes which are critical to the economic stability and vitality of the rural West:
             53          NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah, the
             54      Governor concurring therein, urge the United States Congress to support the fair and equitable
             55      resolution of R.S. 2477 rights-of-way by enacting the R.S. 2477, Rights-of-Way Recognition
             56      Act.
             57          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Majority

             58      Leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives,
             59      and to the members of Utah's congressional delegation.

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